It’s New Year’s resolution time, and folks both here in NYC and across the country are checking out new places to work out. They’re raring to go with a new found commitment to losing weight, getting more physically fit and exercising more in the New Year.

Many of these people will start really strong, join a regular gym and have a schedule all laid out, only to forget about it later, as life and work and the myriad daily routines wear away at their desire to work out.

We here at Ronin Athletics think that training a combat sport is one of the ways that those with New Year’s resolution that can avoid the loss of motivation that a lot of people get when they join a regular gym only to waste both time and money. Training can help people new to working out or who are getting back into it after not regularly exercising for a while by doing a couple of things; First, the class based structure of a BJJ academy or kickboxing gym helps people to remain consistent by not encouraging procrastination. Secondly, the social nature of the academy encourages students to make friends that keep them invested in both the friends they make and the community that they help create. And finally, combat sports provides an immediate feedback system that allows a student to know that they’re constantly improving and progressing, which feels good and more importantly keeps you motivated.

One of the things about normal gyms that people love is the “convenience” factor of the gym being open for a certain amount of time every day, and one being able to work out at any time during that period. While on the one hand, that allows someone to work out whenever they like, on the other, it doesn’t create a sense of continuity nor of regular rhythm. This makes it easy to skip, to put off working out, and to end up wasting your gym membership. When your gym or workout activity is specifically set around classes that go on at certain times, it forces you to really examine your schedule and set a rhythm. You can’t just tell yourself that I’ll keep watching TV for another 20 minutes and then go to the gym. That type of discipline makes it easier to stick with the activity. Furthermore, by presenting a specific set of sessions at specific times, there’s no sense of confusion for the student. There’s no wondering about what a workout should be today, whether it should be weights or cardio, whether one should use this machine or that one, as you know that kickboxing, for example, is at a certain time, with a structure that has already been determined.

One of the things we’re proudest of here at Ronin Athletics is the friendliness of our members. While a lot of that is up to the vibe that we try to create, a lot of is also up to the fact that gyms like ours are fundamentally social places. Almost everything we do here at Ronin Athletics is partner based. Even if you don’t realize it, you end up meeting loads of people, making friends and contributing to the overall community. One’s not stuck in their own little world trying to work up the motivation for one more set. Instead, one is encouraged by news friends and surrounded by people working just as hard. That’s important because it keeps you invested in your workout. Instead of a chore, exercise becomes a fun activity that you’re doing with friends, which makes it that much easier to stick with it.

Finally, you’re learning something new every day at a combat sports gym, getting better at throwing punches or pulling off sweeps. Because you have your instructors/partners helping you improve by pointing out mistakes or sharing details, combat sports provides you constant feedback that keeps you invested. Someone is showing you what you’re doing wrong, and you know that you’re improving because you’re not doing whatever it was anymore. Bit by bit, it becomes easier to swing into an arm bar or to bob and weave under a punch. Furthermore, since combat sports are full of functional movements that combine both cardio and strength training, you can actually feel yourself getting stronger, faster and being able to endure more of a class before you need to rest.

I’m not trying to say that going to a regular gym isn’t the right thing to do. Everyone is different with different workout needs. What I am trying to say is that you should find a combat sports gym near you and give it a try. You might find that it’s perfect for you and for keeping your New Year’s resolution.

See you on the mats.

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